Having Chronic Pain in the Rear is No Joke – Causes & Symptoms

Orthopaedic & Spine Center

Jenny L. F. Andrus, MD

As an Interventional Pain Management Specialist, I see patients who have every type of pain imaginable and do my best to diagnose and treat the root cause of their pain.  Some patients have issues with chronic pain in their pelvis, tailbones, rectums, or reproductive systems due to illness, trauma, cancer or for idiopathic reasons, meaning we don’t know the cause.  This type of pain can be especially debilitating for patients, as well as embarrassing and hard to discuss with others, even their physicians.  In this article, I want to address this topic honestly, remove the stigma surrounding it and talk about the latest treatments for this type of pain below the belly button.

So, what are some of the causes of pain in the genital area, the rectum, the tailbone, or the pelvis?  There could be more causes than I have room to list here, but let’s start with some of the more common ones.  They are:

  • Trauma – accidents, childbirth, sports injuries, fractures, etc.
  • Illness – cancer (cervical, uterine, colon, prostate), endometriosis, STDs, interstitial cystitis, uterine fibroids, vulvodynia, prostatitis, anal fissures, pilonidal cysts, hemorrhoids, piriformis syndrome, IBD, constipation, UTIs
  • Post-surgical pain – scar tissue, adhesions,
  • Auto-immune diseases – Crohn’s’ Disease, Psoriatic Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis
  • Idiopathic – no known cause

The symptoms vary of course, by specific location, but most people report pain when sitting, having sex, having a bowel movement, or in some cases, standing or even lying down.  The pain may vary also, from sharp and stabbing, to a dull ache, to intense and burning.  It may be fairly constant or come and go and may be worse at certain times of day or night.

Many of the illnesses listed above may also cause gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, cramping and bloody stools.  Others which affect the female reproductive organs, can cause vaginal bleeding, cramping and clotting.  Some affect the urinary tract and can cause fever, strong smelling, and blood-tinged urine.  Those with auto-immune disorders may have a whole laundry list of symptoms, besides pain, which can vary widely.

In my next article, I will discuss diagnosis and how I will determine what treatment plan is right for the patient.

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Call (757) 596-1900 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrus. Visit our Contact Us page for information on office hours. Our office is located in Newport News, VA. We are 40 minutes from Virginia Beach and an hour from Richmond, VA.